Sunday, June 27, 2010

Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova: The One We've All Been Waiting For

That was some week, wasn't it?

Now after marathon matches and players spitting toward fans and top seeds struggling, we're in the second week of Wimbledon. There's tons of matches that are expected to be some real humdingers (how many times have you seen the word "humdinger" on a blog?), but there's one I think will be the humdingerest!

It involves your women's top seed Serena Williams against your 16th seed, Maria Sharapova, in a rematch of their 2004 final at the All-England Club taken by Sharapova. Now a lot has happened for both of those players since then: from Serena sinking to her lowest ranking since her rookie days to emerging back on top of the heap to Maria winning a couple of more Slams and then getting felled by a serious shoulder injury.

Sharapova's done a decent job of making her way back from that, but she still hasn't had a defining win yet to prove that she can be a contender at the Slams. I picked her to get to the finals before the tournament, and I'm still sticking with that. Williams has been in pretty devastating form, but I just have this feeling that Sharapova—driven by that need to show she's back—ekes this out.

Either way, it'll be a slugfest, maybe one we'll talk about for days to come!

* And an extra note: Roger Federer really struggled early on last week, and I think he's lucky he didn't have to play Jurgen Melzer then. He should get by him fine now.


TennisAce said...

Just seeing this but what made you think that Sharapova, who has not beaten a top 40 player all year would have been able to take out the defending champion and World's No. 1?

van said...

Hey TennisAce, sorry I'm just now responding to you: I was just going by the law of averages in the fact that things can't go bad all the time, right? Or should I have been thinking the other way and that her form would hold? Either way, I blew the call! It's funny, but I think the two champs this year are the players that always keep me guessing: If you come back to this posting, check out what I wrote at On the Baseline last year:

"The Unpredictable Serena Williams":

TennisAce said...

Van, thanks for the response. Sharapova has shown some glimpses of past form but I have to say that I do not unfortunately see her taking down someone of the caliber of a Serena anytime in the near future.

One thing that I noticed in her match against Justine at this year's FO was her inability to put away a point. Same thing happened at Wimbledon and the same thing happened in her match against Li in Birmingham. Sharapova is beating those players she should beat but for some reason she cannot find a way to beat those in order to let the tennis world know that she is indeed back.

The fact that she had set points against Serena says nothing. She had 3, 2 of which were on her own serve, and she still could not finish off the set.

For all the time that she has been off Tour with the shoulder issue, one would have thought that she would have added a lot more variation in her game. She went all out in her match against Serena. She was hitting winners off the returns etc and she was serving big. She still lost. That, to me is a very important fact that everyone seems to have missed.

She played as well as I have ever seen her play since her return and she still lost. For me she even played better against Serena than she did against Justine.